Maintenance Regimes Simplified | Basics Every Maintainer Needs to Know

Maintenance has improved via the use of technology, however, a basic understanding of regimes is important to find which route protects your most critical equipment.

IMG_0297In researching relevant topics for maintainers in an effort to provide value with this content, I realized that there are many posts dedicated to the explanation of various different regimes. Most of which are excellent informational posts designed to truly get to the core of each concept and provide much detail into the inner-workings of each. This brought me to the question: Is that valuable? Is that what people really use to put maintenance regimes in place? Does this help in making a determination in which regimes are right for an organization? I believe that the answers are yes…and no.
I believe that in no uncertain terms when you are ready to develop and implement a maintenance strategy the due diligence process takes over and thus no blog post or article should be the crux of said strategy. In fact Trico has built a business on training and providing the TLM (total lubrication management) regime. If maintainers and operators could simply get this information from a post or an article how could this be possible and have so much value? The reality is that maintainers and operators really desire a broad overview of regimes, which then get boiled down into more detailed plans based on the criticality of the machinery in the plant. There are industry specific regimes that could be generally applied not one, however, is 100% transferrable.
Here is the rundown of basic maintenance regimes, hopefully with just the right amount of detail. If you feel this post is too detailed or vague or would like to add or comment please do so via our twitter or facebook using the tag #tricocorporation.
Run to Fail
This particular style is very simple and pretty self-explanatory. Run the equipment until it fails or goes hard down, requiring repair or replacement. This regime is typically used on non-critical assets which require low amounts of resources and don’t have much effect on the bottom line when compared to downtime. Critical equipment is typically never run to fail unless repair or replacement is extremely fast and cost efficient. Interestingly a good lubrication program could potentially create value for this strategy in rotating equipment by extending its life past the normal or manufacturer recommended oil change frequency, increasing the bottom line by decreasing the overall cost of replacement.

Preventative Maintenance
This maintenance regime relies heavily on the care and servicing by personnel designed around maintaining equipment and facilities in such a way as to prevent equipment downtime. Maintenance, including tests, measurements, adjustments, and parts replacement, performed specifically to prevent faults from occurring. We’ve all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and this statement could easily be the crux for any PM programs.
Preventive Maintenance activities include partial or complete overhauls at specified periods (typically when down time is least burdensome on production), oil changes, lubrication, minor adjustments, and so on. In addition, data logging equipment deterioration can paint a picture of underlying issues that can cause system failure. The ideal preventive maintenance program would prevent all unplanned downtime due to equipment failure before the failures occur.
Preventative Maintenance is a broad spectrum of styles encompassing:
• Prognostics
• Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
• Corrective Maintenance
• Operational Maintenance
• Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
• Value Driven Maintenance
A few to note here as being popular in modern manufacturing, Reliability Centered Maintenance or better known as RCM, and Predictive Maintenance or PdM. These two are widely accepted and used to be sure that systems continue to operate at a maximum efficiency. This does not mean that equipment stays running 100% of the time, more that any down time can be planned for and that typically saves companies money in terms of lost production.

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) – An engineering framework that defines the operational parameters of an entire maintenance regime. First used by United Airlines to describe their optimum maintenance requirements for their fleet of aircraft, this regime can be used to create strategies around the most critical of assets in a plant. This framework specifically addresses maintenance preventable failures and can result in a program that exceeds uptime requirements with less resources. RCM uses techniques from standard preventative measures as well as predictive maintenance techniques.

Predictive Maintenance (PdM) – is the process of continuous monitoring of equipment condition to ascertain a reasonable failure window in time. This process saves time because maintenance tasks can be performed only when needed vs. on a standard schedule. PdM inspections are typically performed when the machinery is operating normally, reducing costly downtime. Successful PdM programs rely heavily on representative data which is consistently tracked and documented over time. PdM techniques include infrared, acoustic, vibration analysis, oil analysis, and others. In the future this type of monitoring will see extensive advancements in technology based on the current rate of sensor development and the development of wireless networks.

Operational Maintenance
This regime is typically the care and minor maintenance and cleaning of equipment by operators in the field. This typically does not require any advanced training or skill to accomplish. The operator is aware of the state of readiness of the equipment and can quickly maintain the equipment reducing the delays in waiting for additional, more qualified, maintenance staff or engineers. Operational Maintenance may require the operator to perform things like changing out filters, blades, cutting tools, belts and the like but rarely requires any internal maintenance or any tasks that require specific knowledge of the system’s function or design.

Corrective Maintenance
This is simply a task that gets performed once a piece of equipment or system has failed. This regime is to identify, isolate, and rectify a specific fault or series of faults so that a machine or system can be returned to normal operating condition within specified limits. Corrective Maintenance is generally reserved for those pieces of equipment which have been defined as non-critical. Many articles have been written about Corrective Maintenance as a regime because prior to the technology and systems development within PdM and RCM regimes, this was all maintainers had to work with in order to keep plants operating.

These regimes have a place in just about every type of plant, factory, and facility in existence today. Trico exists to provide the lubrication management tools of maintenance regimes as well as oil analysis and analytical ferrography, which is one of the most cost effective tools that makes RCM and PdM so useful.